The ‘Okanagan Lifestyle’ and living the outdoor life
Well, hey there, Okanagan Lifestyle lover! (At least I assume you are, especially after reading the “prequel” to this two-parter: Does the Okanagan Lifestyle Really Live Up to the Hype?
Like I alluded to in that article, my first published on Gonzo Okanagan, you really do have to carve out your own version of the Okanagan Lifestyle. That means you might immerse yourself in all things culture, music and entertainment, or get caught up in the eclectic food and beverage scene — oh yes, the beverages! And still others prioritize anything and everything in the outdoors to get the biggest hit of their #OkanaganLife vibes.
Benefits of spending time outdoors
A research study from Cornell University, part of a larger examination of ‘nature therapy’, found that spending 10-50 minutes outside in a natural setting positively affects physical health indicators, such as: mood, mental focus, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as indicators of good mental health.
So, it’s been scientifically proven that good ‘ol fresh air and a healthy dose of vitamin D are not only great for bolstering physical health and supporting mental health, but they’re just plain good for the soul. Talk about good vibes!
Outdoors in the Okanagan – year-round offerings aplenty
Whether you’re nature obsessed or just need an inspiring way to be more active, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy exploring the endless natural outdoor spaces and lakes in the Okanagan.
For the sun chasers and water babies
Now this is where my personal stars shine their brightest, in or near the water! Have you immersed yourself in…
- Beaches galore
- Boating for leisure (power boating, personal watercraft, etc.) and fishing
- Wakesurfing, wakeboarding, flyboarding
- Sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing & parasailing (hey there, adrenaline!)
- Paddle sports, like SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), kayaking & canoeing
- Splash parks, in-park and on-water (e.g., The Wibit)
- River tubing and floating
- Cliff jumping (adrenaline overload!)
- Lake scuba diving
For the nature, forest and green park space enthusiasts
Ahh, you can just smell the fresh air now! Have you had the opportunity to explore…
- Community gardens
- Camping and RV travel (Glamp much? That’s more my style!)
- Trail walking, hiking, waterfall seeking and exploration
- Rock climbing
- Birding and other wildlife observation and encounters
- Suspension bridges
- Bootcamps and park/playground workouts
- Outdoor yoga
But have you “glowed” your yoga? More on that!
For the snow buddies
You might have already tried a winter sport or two, and maybe you’ve visited one (or four) of the big mountain resorts in the Okanagan, but have you been…
- Skiing: nordic/cross-country skiing, downhill/alpine, and snowboarding
- Snowshoeing, snowbiking
- Ice wall climbing
- Snow tubing/sledding
- Outdoor ice skating, hockey
Other outdoor activities in the Okanagan
When I said there was an abundance of year-round outdoor activities, I wasn’t kidding! Here are a few more thrown in to round out this already-impressive list, but by no means makes it fully comprehensive!
- Pole walking
- Cycling and scootering (including e-bikes/scooters and fat bikes)
- Dirt biking/motocross
- ATV riding
- Hobby farms and animal sanctuaries (kangaroos!)
- Horseback riding
- And of course, golfing
Wait… does patio hopping count as an outdoor activity? Food (and drink) for thought I suppose!
Outdoor activities you should try in the Okanagan, but probably haven’t yet!
Besides all of the possibilities listed above, there are a few that you may not have ad-ventured out on yet.
For example, I’m actually a certified Rescue Scuba Diver but I’ve never dove in a lake – only in an ocean, and warm ones at that! Hmm, maybe I should take my own advice.
Night “Glow” SUP
(intermediate level recommended)
You may have already tried SUP as it’s an activity that’s easy to come by with so many lakes around the Okanagan. But, have you thought about trying it at night for an extra challenge and maybe an extra adrenaline boost?
Check out Glow SUP Adventures in Penticton.
This is our most popular tour that is truly an experience you shouldn’t miss. Each board is equipped with waterproof LED lighting that makes for a glowing spectacle of awesomeness. This is a guided tour through calm waters with an illuminated experience paddling in a whole new thrilling way. It’s paddle boarding – ignited!
Of course, you could certainly grab a bunch of glow sticks and strap them onto your board or kayak. Either way, have a plan, go with friends, and don’t forget your PFD – but have a bucket-list full of fun too!
Some paddlers even choose to wear a helmet when paddling at night, which would allow you to strap on an extra light and a GoPro to document the whole thing.
Cycling the Okanagan Rail Trail
(all ages, all abilities)
The Okanagan Rail Trail offers a total length of 50 km of riding trail, starting at the north end of Kalamalka Lake and ending at the center of Okanagan Lake, downtown Kelowna.
There are plenty of places to slow down and connect with nature, along or close to the trail. Kekuli Bay Provincial Park, right along the trail, offers a great place to camp or picnic, a pebble beach, and a great spot for nature viewing. Try out the Crystal Waters Trail above the Okanagan Rail Trail for a forest adventure with great views!
Whether your journey takes you along the beautiful shores of Kalamalka or Wood Lake in the northern section, or the vibrant urban sections in Kelowna, the Okanagan Rail Trail is an experience to be savoured.
Source: Okanagan Rail Trail
Another popular cycling trail is the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail – you might want to put that on your list of must-do outdoor activities in the Okanagan too!
Ziplining & Ropes Courses
Myra Canyon Adventure Park: Ziplines, Ropes & Challenge Courses (East Kelowna)
We are an outdoor high ropes and zipline park nestled in the wilderness and beauty of the Myra Canyon. We offer a variety of activities suitable for ages 3 +. Bring your family to enjoy the fresh air, amazing views and above all adventure and memories to last a lifetime!
Oyama Zipline Adventure Park: Ziplines & Aerial Courses (Lake Country)
Oyama Zipline Adventure Park is a wild treetop adventure for the entire family. Four attractions stretch above the forest floor. Explore all or let us determine the best adventure according to your time-restrictions, price-range and adrenaline threshold. We have an Okanagan Adventure for just your speed.
Zip Zone Adventure Park: Ziplines, Climbing Walls & Adventure Courses (Peachland)
Canada’s Highest Freestyle Zip Lines. Six of the highest, longest , fastest, epic-est zip lines in Canada, criss-crossing the breathtaking Deep Creek Gorge. Breathtaking views, maximum exhilaration!
So, there you have it… living the outdoor life to the fullest in the Okanagan! What heights or depths will your next adventure take you?